Small Flock

This is NOT a housing management guide. These sections were created to help explain the relationship between housing and oocyst ingestion. Please consult your veterinarian and bird management guide from the breeding company for housing management information.

The timing of coccidiosis outbreaks may vary depending on the immune status of your flock and how your birds are reared. Commonly, coccidiosis is a disease of young birds between 2-4 weeks of age.

Ideally, it is best to house birds of the same age and species together at any given time. Older birds can shed large numbers of oocysts and have partial immunity due to some exposure to the parasite (without showing obvious signs of being sick). If these older birds are housed with younger birds the young birds could ingest large numbers of infectious oocysts and become sick.

If a variety of ages must be housed on the same property, it is always good practice with cleaning/feeding/etc. to start with the youngest birds first and finish with the oldest birds. Keep feeders, drinkers or other equipment separate between the younger and older birds. If equipment must move from older to younger birds a thorough cleaning should be completed prior to the move.

Be aware that wild birds of the same species are susceptible to the same species of Eimeria. As a result, keeping wild birds and fecal matter of wild birds away from your birds is essential. 

Outside Access - If the flock has access to outside, how the outdoor run is designed and managed may influence Eimeria transmission (1). If an outdoor run is used, the run should be rotated each flock to reduce the potential for oocyst transmission between flocks. If the land used for a run is limited, a suggestion to help reduce oocyst transmission is removing approximately the top 20cm of soil from the run and planting a new fast growing crop (2). 

Meat Birds

For a detailed description of brooding and housing birds on litter with respect to coccidiosis management please see the Broiler birds reared on litter section.

Egg Birds

For a detailed description of brooding and housing birds on litter with respect to coccidiosis management please see the Pullets reared on litter section.

Good Practice When Showing Birds

1. Make sure the bird’s feet are cleaned prior to having the bird re-enter the housing facility. This will help remove feces from other birds and potential contaminants.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water prior to and proceeding the event. This will help remove feces from other birds and potential contaminants.
3. The shoes and clothes worn to a bird show event should be different and separate than the shoes and clothes worn into your birds’ housing facility.

References

1. Sossidou, E.N., A. Dal Bosco, H.A. Elson, and C.M.G.A. Fontes. Pasture-based systems for poultry production: implications and perspectives. World's Poultry Science Journal 67:47-58. 2011.

2. Flegal, C.J. Managing Game Birds. Extension Bulletin E-692 Michigan State University. 1994.  Access HERE.